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Extraterrestrial Life. Antígona Segura Peralta. Penn State University, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Penn State Astrobiology Research Center. They do exist!. Astrobiology. Astrobiology is the science that studies the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the Universe.

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

Extraterrestrial

Life

Antígona Segura Peralta

Penn State University, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Penn State Astrobiology Research Center

slide3

Astrobiology

Astrobiology is the science that studies the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the Universe

slide4

The origin of life on Earth

4 billion years ago

slide5

What does life need?

  • Raw materials: hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and minerals like iron and sulfur.
  • Energy: Sun, volcanoes
  • A liquid: Water
slide6

Planets, the perfect place

  • They contain raw materials
  • Energy sources
  • They can have liquid water
slide7

Our Solar System

Uranus

Pluto

Saturn

Jupiter

Neptune

Venus

Mercury

Earth

Mars

slide8

The terrestrial planets

Very hot because its atmosphere

Mercury

Mars

Very near the Sun

Venus

No atmosphere, cold but…

slide10

Mars, an interesting past

Ancient volcanoes

Ancient rivers?

slide13

The giant planets

Jupiter

Saturn

Neptune

Uranus

slide17

Milky Way

100 billion of stars!

slide19

Formation of stars and planets

Beta Pictoris, a newborn star

slide20

Formation of stars and planets

Beta Pictoris disk (artist conception)

slide22

The life of the stars

Red Giant

Panetary nebula and white dwarf

Yellow dwarf

10 billion years

slide23

The life of the stars

Blue giants

100 million years

Supernova remmanent and neutron star

Supernova

slide24

A habitable world

Characteristics:

  • Distance from its star, not too far, not too close
  • Size, not too big, not too small
  • Atmosphere to keep the planet warm and water liquid
  • Water
slide25

Biomarkers

Those features whose presence or abundance can be attributed to life

slide28

How to find a planet?

Problem:

The stars emit light (a lot!) and planets doesn’t, they just reflect the light from their parent star.

  • How to solve it?
  • Cover the star!!!!
  • Measure the effects of the planets on the stars:
    • Stars wobble because of the planets
    • Stars dim when a planet crosses in fron of them
slide29

Looking for habitable worlds

Kepler:

  • Look for terrestrial planets around 100,000 stars.
  • Launch on 2006.
slide30

Looking for habitable worlds

Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF):

  • Look for terrestrial planets around 100 nearby stars.
  • Analyze the planets to detect those that may be habitable
  • Launching on 2012-2015
slide31

Looking for habitable worlds

  • Eddington:
  • Looking for planets bigger than Mars around 500,000 stars.
  • Launching on 2008.
slide32

Looking for habitable worlds

  • Darwin:
  • Look for terrestrial planets around 1,000.
  • Launching after 2014.
slide33

Globular Cluster M13

Intelligent life?

Arecibo Antenna, Puerto Rico

slide36

SETI: Search for extraterrestrial life

Allen array

Project Phoenix